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When I got my Golden Retriever puppy, there was quite a lot to learn about the breed and some surprises. One of the surprises was how much he slept through the day. As a pet parent, I wasn’t sure if that was normal or not, so I naturally wondered how much do Golden Retriever puppies sleep?
Golden Retriever puppies typically sleep between 16 to 20 hours each day, and it is normal for them to sleep more than be awake. By 16 weeks old most puppies will sleep through the night and take frequent naps during the day. Large amounts of sleep are required for a puppy’s healthy growth and development.
So, rest assured that sleeping a lot is perfectly normal for puppies. Puppies sleep more than adult dogs do, and both sleep more than humans.
Because sleep is so crucial for a puppy’s growth, this article will discuss things that can affect how much your puppy sleeps, plus tips to help your Golden Retriever puppy sleep enough.
I’ll also discuss why allowing your puppy to sleep is essential to healthy growth, and why a puppy’s sleep should not be disturbed. Which, is hard when they’re so darn cute, and we just want to pick them up and give them cuddles.
Considering that puppies undergo much more rapid growth and development than a human child, it is not surprising that they require so much sleep.
The Amount of Sleep a Golden Retriever Puppy Should Have
Golden Retriever puppies sleep a lot. Between 16 and 20 hours. Not only is it normal for them to be sleeping more than they are awake, but is it actually very healthy and very important to their healthy growth.
Golden Retriever puppies are very active when awake. The breed is very high energy and requires a lot of activity.
During these crazed play sessions, you will probably wonder at some point if your Golden Retriever puppy is crazy? I have an answer for that here: Golden Retriever Puppies: Are They Crazy?
But recuperating from highly octane play sessions is not the only reason puppies sleep so much. Golden Retriever puppies also undergo periods of fast growth.
As a result, large amounts of sleep are necessary and healthy for the normal development of their brains, central nervous system, and muscles.
Factors That Affect How Much Your Golden Retriever Puppy Sleeps
The length of time that a Golden Retriever puppy sleeps depends on numerous factors. For example, you may find that your puppy sleeps towards the higher end of the sleep range (18-20 hours) while your neighbor’s puppy sleeps at the lower end (16-18 hours).
Provided your puppy mainly sleeps within that 16 to 20-hour range, it is perfectly normal. However, certain factors can affect how much your puppy sleep, including:
- Activity level
All these factors can contribute to how much your Golden Retriever puppy sleeps, either increasing or decreasing the amount of sleep.
Knowing which factors affect sleep is important because your Golden Retriever puppy must get enough sleep to grow and develop normally. So, understanding how to create the best sleep environment for your puppy ensures that it gets enough sleep and quality sleep.
Age is typically the single most significant factor in the amount of sleep. As your puppy grows, it will require little less sleep. Don’t expect a huge dropoff, but there will be a decline as it grows into adulthood.
The amount of sleep should get down to about 14 – 16 hours a day as the Golden Retriever grows in adulthood.
Puppies play a lot when not sleeping and often at a furious pace. As well, they grow and develop rapidly. That all requires a lot more sleep.
As they slow in growth, their amount of sleep trends down slightly as they age. However, even adult Golden Retrievers spend the majority of their day sleeping.
Next to age for puppies, activity level is often the most significant contributor to sleep volume.
Although puppies spend a good portion of the day and night sleeping, they still require activity, such as physical exercise, and mental stimulation (e.g. play and training).
How much activity they need is discussed below in the tips section. However, consider that more play and exercise means a more tired puppy and more sleep.
When temperatures rise in the summertime, it may be uncomfortable for a young puppy to sleep.
Dogs typically have a much harder time dealing with hotter temperatures than we do. Mainly because of their fur (a double coat in the case of a Golden Retriever) and because they don’t sweat but rather pant to regulate heat.
So, during hot summer nights, your puppy might find it difficult to cool down and sleep, especially if you lack air conditioning.
You can run a fan to help cool the room as best as possible, although most dogs don’t like to be blown on, so you’ll have to play with the location. Ceiling fans work well for circulating heat and keeping the room cooler.
You can also sleep on the main floor or in the basement, which is often cooler than sleeping upstairs. For example, I have a mattress topper that I carry to the main floor during hot summer nights. Bailey is happy to join me since it’s often significantly cooler than upstairs.
To learn what temperatures are too hot in the summer (and what to do to keep your Golden cool), check out this post: Golden Retrievers In Hot Weather: What’s Too Hot?
Too cold is usually not an issue for the puppy’s fur, but make sure he has a warm bed off the floor and blankets or towels for him to snuggle in.
Sick puppies or puppies with medical conditions might need more sleep.
As well, some medications can impact sleep. If your puppy is sick, the extra rest helps it recuperate.
If the puppy has a medical condition or one that requires medication, then make sure to discuss potential sleep impacts with your vet. It is essential to be informed and know what to do.
How To Help Your Golden Retriever Puppy Sleep Through the Day
Yes, I said day! Sleep during the day and night can differ, but both are important.
Dogs, including puppies, very much live their lives by their internal clocks or circadian rhythms. It’s often why daylight savings time can impact them significantly after we set our clocks an hour back or forward.
While a sleep schedule is often most important through the night, ensuring the puppy has adequate sleep when it needs it during the day is also essential. Just like babies and toddlers need naps for healthy development and growth (and to not be cranky or overtired), puppies also need to nap for the same reasons.
Consider these tips to ensure your Golden Retriever puppy can sleep through the day.
Do Not Disturb the Puppy When Napping
Puppies are adorable, and often we are tempted to pick them up or play with them. However, it is essential to not disturb a puppy when napping. They are sleeping because their bodies need it.
Consider how you feel when abruptly woken from a deep nap or sleep.
Make sure all household members understand not to disturb a puppy’s sleep. For example, teach children to wait for a puppy to wake up before playing or cuddling.
Schedule Nap Times
Earlier, we touched on how important consistent sleep is to a puppy and how they sleep naturally based on a circadian rhythm.
Typically, puppies will nap after a bout of exercise and play during the day. A natural routine may look like this; they eat, go potty, play, then nap for 30 minutes to two hours.
Understanding that they typically sleep after an activity ensures that you can set aside quality time for napping. It also allows you to schedule some of YOUR activities during this time.
For example, cooking and cleaning are much more difficult with an underfoot puppy that is eager to play. Teaching your Golden Retriever to settle to a mat or elevated bed helps in this regard.
If you’re looking for a good elevated bed that doubles as an excellent training platform then you can find my recommendation under the Health and Wellbeing section here: Must-Have Dog Gear.
Scheduling activities can also ensure your puppy tires at the appropriate time. For example, understanding that puppies like to play after a meal, make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise in the evening after supper.
This will help expend his energy into the evening, so he sleeps through the night and helps him settle during the time you usually compress in the evening to watch TV.
Teach the Puppy to Self-Soothe
Like children, puppies can become overstimulated, making it difficult to wind down. While play and exercise are essential, too much can be overwhelming. Disrupting nap times may cause the puppy to be overtired.
As noted in the first tip, do not disturb the puppy when napping. Once the puppy has been exercised and played with adequately, you can help it settle down by giving it a chew toy such as a kong with some kibble in it or placing a snuffle mat in the puppy’s crate or bed.
Puppies chew a lot due to teething, and the chew toys and small treats preoccupy the puppy’s mouth and the mind as well, which helps the puppy settle. This is the first step to teaching a puppy how to self-soothe.
How To Help Your Golden Retriever Puppy Sleep Through the Night
Ultimately, the goal is to have our Golden Retriever puppy sleep through the night. In this way, it gets the largest block of quality sleep during the night, which coincides with when we need our best sleep as well.
So, how do you ensure that your Golden puppy sleeps through the night?
Below are some suggestions to help with that goal.
Give It Enough Exercise During the Day
While overstimulating a puppy can impact sleep, so can understimulating a puppy. A puppy that doesn’t get enough play and exercise during the day will be physically and mentally bored.
All that pent-up energy from lack of physical and mental activity during the day means you might have a puppy that is energetic well into the evening and gets up frequently during the night.
How much activity do puppies need? In addition to playing and mental stimulation, puppies need their month in age x 5 minutes of physical exercise twice per day.
So, for example, take a 3-month-old Golden Retriever puppy. It would need 15 minutes of exercise twice per day or 30 minutes total. Months in age (3) x 5 minutes = 15 minutes x twice per day.
Also, notice that I said “in addition to,” which means play and mental stimulation are not included in the required daily exercise amounts.
Lack of physical and mental stimulation can affect both the quantity and quality of sleep. For example, a small puppy that does not get enough physical or mental stimulation will have pent-up energy.
As a result, you may find a puppy that not only seeks more attention but will sleep less than a more stimulated and tired puppy.
Keep a Regular Schedule
It is crucial to put puppies on a consistent and regular sleep schedule. The goal is to teach the puppy to hold its bladder through the night and get the most extensive single block of its sleep through the night when you are sleeping.
It may be fine when you don’t need to sleep regularly through the night, but if that ever changes, you may have a dog on your hands that doesn’t want to sleep.
Dogs, including puppies, do not live their lives by a clock.
So, the last thing you want is a puppy that is up during the night and sleeping all day, because that is what it is accustomed to. And as discussed earlier, puppies need both enough sleep and good quality sleep for healthy brain and body development.
Establish a Routine
Puppie catches on to routines very quickly. Often they will know when you are getting ready to leave in the morning when you brush your teeth and start getting dressed. Or when you grab your keys or purse, they will know you’re leaving.
Bedtimes can be similar. If you have a routine that says, “it’s time to go to bed,” it is a primer for them that it’s time to sleep.
For example, my Golden Retriever Bailey knows that it’s bedtime when we turn off the TV and prep the coffee maker for the morning. He then goes out for a potty break, gets a treat, and then immediately runs up and jumps on my bed, and goes to sleep.
He knows his routine because it was taught as a puppy.
Designate a Specific Sleeping Area Earlier On
Decide where your puppy will be sleeping earlier on. Someplace where you can hear the puppy is beneficial should the puppy need to go potty during the night.
Also, make sure the room is dark, cool, and quiet. As discussed, dogs regulate by circadian rhythm, and darkness cues their bodies that night is upon them and it’s time to sleep.
A specific sleep area also tells them it’s time to go to sleep when they’re guided into their sleeping area.
If you’re using a crate, you might consider putting a blanket over top the sides and back to help darken it and make it cozier and den-like.
Night Is Not for Play
Your puppy may need a potty break during the night, or it may not be ready to sleep yet. In addition, they often want to play afterward or do not need to go potty but rather want attention.
If the puppy needs to go potty, take him out calmly and patiently while providing lots of positive reinforcement (praise but don’t overstimulate). Then, bring the puppy back to its bed or crate and go to sleep.
Resist the temptation if it whines or tries to engage you in play. The puppy needs to learn that nighttime is for sleep.
Or, you may find your puppy resists going to bed while you’re putting it down. The same patient and positive rules apply. Keep putting the puppy in its bed calmly and with lots of praise.
Crates work well because they can be closed, which prevents the puppy from escaping and engaging you. Most puppies, once accustomed to crates, will love them!
Just be prepared to ignore whining, barking, and crying as the puppy tries to get you to give in to your guilt by playing on your heartstrings.
Training a puppy, especially during the night, can be challenging. So, if you need training help I reviewed the best online dog training courses to determine the best ones. The link is in the big gold box at the end of this post.
Summing It All Up
Golden Retriever puppies are sleeping machines. And that’s perfectly normal. If fact, it’s precisely what they should be doing.
Expect your Golden Retriever puppy to sleep upwards of 16 to 20 hours per day. You can ensure it gets enough quality sleep by establishing set schedules, routines, and basic rules around puppies’ sleep.
Most of all, enjoy those times of sleep. When the puppy is not sleeping, it can be a whirling tornado of crazy activity.